A new study on the effects of cannabis upon drivers shows that CBD has little effect upon driving capacities, and THC produces only mild impacts upon ones driving skills.
A new study from the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics at the University of Sydney analyzed the effects of cannabis and its components upon a users driving capacities, finding that cannabidiol (CBD) induces no impairment upon driving skills and that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) yields only mild effects upon driving for four hours.
The results of the study may have enormous implications as cannabinoid medicines become increasingly popular as a treatment for epilepsy, chronic pain, cancer pain, inflammation, and many other conditions.
In Australia alone, SAS-B approvals for cannabinoid medicines has grown each year, almost reaching 50,000 approvals for 2020.
As cannabis becomes increasingly legitimized as a medicine, there is a growing issue surrounding the inability of medicinal cannabis users to legally drive after taking their medicine.
As we covered last year following the Senate Inquiry into the barriers to medical cannabis prescriptions in Australia, “doctors are reticent to prescribe patients out of fear they’ll be pulled over while driving and arrested for marijuana intoxication.”
Moreover, there is currently no working breathalyzer system to test for THC levels in the blood. As it currently stands, police can only determine whether or not patients have THC in their systems, regardless of the amount.
This means that if someone has a full-spectrum CBD medicine, even with 0.3% THC content (which has now been found to have no effects upon one’s driving skills), may test positive in a roadside drug test.
The driving study was conducted at Maastricht University in the Netherlands and published within the Journal of the American Medical Association, with the study’s lead author, Dr. Thomas Arkell stating that the findings “indicate for the first time that CBD, when given without THC, does not affect a subject’s ability to drive. That’s great news for those using or considering treatment using CBD-based products.”
The study involved giving 26 people cannabis to vaporize with varying ratios of THC and CBD before going for a 100 KM drive for 40 minutes under the supervision of a driving instructor.
The study found that “cannabis containing mainly CBD did not impair driving while cannabis containing THC, or a THC/CBD mixture, caused mild impairment measured at 40 minutes later but not after four hours.”
Dr. Arkell said: “With cannabis laws changing globally, jurisdictions are grappling with the issue of cannabis-impaired driving. These results provide much-needed insights into the magnitude and duration of impairment caused by different types of cannabis and can help to guide road-safety policy not just in Australia but around the world”.
“Road safety is a primary concern,” Dr. Arkell continued. “These results should allow for evidence-based laws and regulation for people receiving medical cannabis.”
The study looked at lane weaving, swerving and overcorrections as it pertains to the standard deviation of vehicle position (SDLP).
The implication of this study could be pivotal in the future prescription of cannabinoid medicines, and allow for medical cannabis patients to consume cannabis without fear of arrest should they need to drive.